• Is this a proof that the impossible can happen?

    Let's say you have an infinitely large grid. You throw a dart at it at random and it lands in one of the squares. Since there are an infinite number of squares, the odds of the dart hitting any one particular square are (1/infinity), which is equal to 0. But the fact that a square now has a dart in it despite the odds of that happening being... show more
    Let's say you have an infinitely large grid. You throw a dart at it at random and it lands in one of the squares. Since there are an infinite number of squares, the odds of the dart hitting any one particular square are (1/infinity), which is equal to 0. But the fact that a square now has a dart in it despite the odds of that happening being 0 would seem to indicate that even an event with zero probability of occurring, can still occur. Is there a fault in this line of reasoning? Could this be an answer to the question of why the universe (or anything) exists? I.e. if the quantum fluctuation that began the big bang could have happened even with 0 odds of happening?
    9 answers · Philosophy · 4 years ago
  • I'm interested in researching & developing small thorium reactors. What classes/subjects should I take?

    Wanting a more detailed answer than just "nuclear engineering." :) So I'm looking for a mid-life career change and the potential of thorium reactors as a small power source--just a few grams could power an electric car--is something that really interests me. I would like to take as many classes as possible online for several... show more
    Wanting a more detailed answer than just "nuclear engineering." :) So I'm looking for a mid-life career change and the potential of thorium reactors as a small power source--just a few grams could power an electric car--is something that really interests me. I would like to take as many classes as possible online for several reasons, mostly financial and it being difficult for me to move from my current location to a college. Coursera has an interesting overview class on nuclear science & tech which I may take but I'm looking for more in-depth technical courses. I see that MIT has tons of nuclear science & engineering class resources online but I'm not sure where to start and what subjects to take. I would like to focus on just those needed to gain knowledge of the relevant nuclear cycles as well as what engineering might be involved in the development of a neutron source + some means of harvesting the resulting energy in a small form factor reactor--something suitable for powering a car, house, business, factory, or cluster of homes. Thanks!
    1 answer · Higher Education (University +) · 5 years ago
  • I'm interested in researching & developing small thorium reactors. What classes/subjects should I take?

    Wanting a more detailed answer than just "nuclear engineering." :) So I'm looking for a mid-life career change and the potential of thorium reactors as a small power source--just a few grams could power an electric car--is something that really interests me. I would like to take as many classes as possible online for several... show more
    Wanting a more detailed answer than just "nuclear engineering." :) So I'm looking for a mid-life career change and the potential of thorium reactors as a small power source--just a few grams could power an electric car--is something that really interests me. I would like to take as many classes as possible online for several reasons, mostly financial and it being difficult for me to move from my current location to a college. Coursera has an interesting overview class on nuclear science & tech which I may take but I'm looking for more in-depth technical courses. I see that MIT has tons of nuclear science & engineering class resources online but I'm not sure where to start and what subjects to take. I would like to focus on just those needed to gain knowledge of the relevant nuclear cycles as well as what engineering might be involved in the development of a neutron source + some means of harvesting the resulting energy in a small form factor reactor--something suitable for powering a car, house, business, factory or cluster of homes. Thanks!
    2 answers · Engineering · 5 years ago
  • Is the universe itself evil?

    Noted atheist PZ Myers, in a recent blog post, wrote, "Evil is simply anti-human, and most of the universe is against us." (http://bit.ly/dA8I6x ) This was a quick reply to the question of why there is evil, asked by a believer. What do you think of it? Do you agree or disagree with the quote, and with his assessment of evil? He... show more
    Noted atheist PZ Myers, in a recent blog post, wrote, "Evil is simply anti-human, and most of the universe is against us." (http://bit.ly/dA8I6x ) This was a quick reply to the question of why there is evil, asked by a believer. What do you think of it? Do you agree or disagree with the quote, and with his assessment of evil? He probably did not mean that the universe itself was literally evil, but it is true that the overwhelmingly vast majority of the universe is extremely hostile to life. Thoughts?
    2 answers · Philosophy · 8 years ago
  • A philosophical question of intent?

    (No, this is not a homework question. :-) It's something I heard discussed on the "Philosophy Bites" podcast and I thought I'd like to see your replies here.) http://www.philosophybites.com/ Scenario 1: The Head of Development at a company comes to the CEO and says, "We've just designed a new product that will make... show more
    (No, this is not a homework question. :-) It's something I heard discussed on the "Philosophy Bites" podcast and I thought I'd like to see your replies here.) http://www.philosophybites.com/ Scenario 1: The Head of Development at a company comes to the CEO and says, "We've just designed a new product that will make us boatloads of money, but it will also substantially harm the environment. Should we go ahead with production?" To which the CEO replies, "Yes. I don't care what effect it has on the environment, I just care about making money." The company produces the product, and it does indeed substantially harm the environment. Question 1: Did the CEO intentionally harm the environment? Scenario 2: The Head of Development at a company comes to the CEO and says, "We've just designed a new product that will make us boatloads of money, and in addition it will also substantially benefit the environment. Should we go ahead with production?" To which the CEO replies, "Yes. I don't care what effect it has on the environment, I just care about making money." The company produces the product, and it does indeed substantially benefit the environment. Question 2: Did the CEO intentionally benefit the environment? Now, were your answers the same for both questions? If not, why not? The only difference between the two scenarios was that "harm" was changed to "benefit" in #2.
    7 answers · Philosophy · 8 years ago
  • If you could live however long you wanted to in good mental & physical health, how long would be enough?

    Every now and then someone posts a question asking if you'd choose immortality if you could, and most people seem horrified at the prospect of living forever. At the same time, most healthy, non-depressed people would not choose a lifespan shorter than their "natural" one. But since ancient times the average human lifespan has more... show more
    Every now and then someone posts a question asking if you'd choose immortality if you could, and most people seem horrified at the prospect of living forever. At the same time, most healthy, non-depressed people would not choose a lifespan shorter than their "natural" one. But since ancient times the average human lifespan has more than tripled from 25-ish in Roman times to 75-80 years now. And in the coming decades, medical science may allow us to live decades or even centuries longer, perhaps indefinitely (supposing you don't die from accident or violent crime). So my question to you is, how long is enough life for you? How long would you want to live before you say, "OK, this is enough of life, I think I'll take a permanent dirt-nap now?" If you would really want to live forever I'll certainly accept that as an answer (I would choose that if I could). But I'm especially interested in the thinking and reasoning of those who would choose a finite lifespan, and why you would choose the length of life that you do.
    13 answers · Philosophy · 8 years ago
  • Is there a website that can tell me if a TV show has been canceled, or is just on hiatus?

    So, my Tivo season passes are getting to be pretty numerous, and I'd like to clean out the ones for shows that have been canceled. Is there a site that can tell me if shows like "Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles," "Robot Chicken," or "Caprica" are coming back with new episodes eventually, or have gone off for good?
    So, my Tivo season passes are getting to be pretty numerous, and I'd like to clean out the ones for shows that have been canceled. Is there a site that can tell me if shows like "Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles," "Robot Chicken," or "Caprica" are coming back with new episodes eventually, or have gone off for good?
    4 answers · Other - Television · 9 years ago
  • In WoW instances, why does everyone think imps are better than voidwalkers for destro warlocks?

    I'm a destro-specced lvl 80 lock who just recently started doing instances on anything resembling a regular basis. I've been told (chastised is more like it) that I should be using my imp instead of the voidwalker. I can't understand why, though. Imps are wimpy creatures that are killed very easily, and I don't see that their... show more
    I'm a destro-specced lvl 80 lock who just recently started doing instances on anything resembling a regular basis. I've been told (chastised is more like it) that I should be using my imp instead of the voidwalker. I can't understand why, though. Imps are wimpy creatures that are killed very easily, and I don't see that their firebolts do much more dmg than the vw's attack. Plus vw's are good at holding threat, which is important because my fire spells generate threat up the wazoo. Finally, in a pinch I can use the vw's Sacrifice ability which buys me a few extra precious seconds to heal up or finish off a mob if my hp's get critical. So I guess I'm just having trouble understanding why locks who use vw's in instances are treated like noobs. My dps isn't any different using an imp and the extra few hp granted to the group also seem kinda insignificant, especially if the tank & healer do their jobs. Insight, anyone?
    3 answers · Video & Online Games · 9 years ago
  • What are the pros and cons of a solid-state hard drive?

    I know SSD's cost more than regular hard drives on a per-GB basis, but what other differences are there? Specifically, what about read & write speeds, and projected lifetime? I've heard that memory cards like SD or compact flash can only be written to a couple thousand times (each bit) before wearing out. Does this apply to SSD's too?... show more
    I know SSD's cost more than regular hard drives on a per-GB basis, but what other differences are there? Specifically, what about read & write speeds, and projected lifetime? I've heard that memory cards like SD or compact flash can only be written to a couple thousand times (each bit) before wearing out. Does this apply to SSD's too? And how are SSD's in terms of heat?
    4 answers · Other - Hardware · 9 years ago
  • What would be on your "bucket list" if you could live for a million years?

    (For those who don't know, a "bucket list" is a list of things you'd like to accomplish before you die, i.e. before you kick the bucket.) What things would you like to accomplish in life if you were not limited to the paltry 7-8 decades that we currently are? Stuff you would have little or no hope of achieving in a standard... show more
    (For those who don't know, a "bucket list" is a list of things you'd like to accomplish before you die, i.e. before you kick the bucket.) What things would you like to accomplish in life if you were not limited to the paltry 7-8 decades that we currently are? Stuff you would have little or no hope of achieving in a standard lifetime, but possible with much more time. It could be stuff that would take way more than 80 years to accomplish, or stuff that's not possible to do with our current technology, or just stuff you _could_ do now, but don't have the time or money for (like learning to hang-glide). Be creative! But it can't break the known laws of physics or otherwise be impossible even given a million years. I have my own million-year "to do" list, but I'd like to see yours. :-)
    7 answers · Philosophy · 9 years ago
  • Is there an equation showing the change in the frequency of the cosmic background radiation over time?

    I'm curious as to whether there was ever a time when the background radiation was in the visible spectrum. What frequency was it 300,000 years after the big bang when the universe first became transparent? And from the big bang up until 300,000 years, did that opaque haze which filled the universe change color/frequency, or would it have... show more
    I'm curious as to whether there was ever a time when the background radiation was in the visible spectrum. What frequency was it 300,000 years after the big bang when the universe first became transparent? And from the big bang up until 300,000 years, did that opaque haze which filled the universe change color/frequency, or would it have always been some shade of white or gray, varying only in brightness?
    4 answers · Astronomy & Space · 9 years ago
  • Your opinion: is the present, merely the future's primitive and barbaric past?

    Are you generally an optimist, pessimist, or agnostic about the future of humanity? Will we be as much more civilized 500 years from now as we are now compared to 500 years ago? Is there any ultimate limit to how enlightened our civilization could become? Or do you think that everything's heading down the crapper, and that civilization... show more
    Are you generally an optimist, pessimist, or agnostic about the future of humanity? Will we be as much more civilized 500 years from now as we are now compared to 500 years ago? Is there any ultimate limit to how enlightened our civilization could become? Or do you think that everything's heading down the crapper, and that civilization and maybe even our species will come to a crashing halt sometime in the next few decades or centuries? In the Big Picture of things, the history of humanity, is there anything special about the times we're living in now?
    10 answers · Philosophy · 10 years ago
  • I don't recall ever signing my name to this so-called "social contract." Can I claim identity theft?

    My government keeps billing me for all these services I never ordered, like crummy public schools and military wars in other countries. So far I'm in the hole for over $35,000! (My share of the $10.4 trillion national debt.) How can I get this matter straightened out and get a refund on all these unwanted services people keep ordering for me?
    My government keeps billing me for all these services I never ordered, like crummy public schools and military wars in other countries. So far I'm in the hole for over $35,000! (My share of the $10.4 trillion national debt.) How can I get this matter straightened out and get a refund on all these unwanted services people keep ordering for me?
    11 answers · Philosophy · 1 decade ago
  • If I want to podcast, where's a good place to get free theme music?

    I'm looking for music that I could use legally, without having to pay royalties (since I won't be making any money myself off of this podcast). Any suggestions?
    I'm looking for music that I could use legally, without having to pay royalties (since I won't be making any money myself off of this podcast). Any suggestions?
    3 answers · Music & Music Players · 1 decade ago
  • Tough thought experiment: what would the universe look like if the Hubble constant also affected time?

    Time and space are supposed to both be forms of dimensions, right? And the Hubble constant affects all 3 spacial dimensions, right? What if it also affected the time dimension? How would the universe look at large time scales? How would more distant objects look to us? Would we even be able to notice a metric expansion of time? I would think... show more
    Time and space are supposed to both be forms of dimensions, right? And the Hubble constant affects all 3 spacial dimensions, right? What if it also affected the time dimension? How would the universe look at large time scales? How would more distant objects look to us? Would we even be able to notice a metric expansion of time? I would think that we could, by looking at distant objects, the same way we can measure a metric expansion of space. Could a metric expansion of time account for the accelerating expansion of the universe we see, filling the role of dark energy? And no, this isn't a homework assignment. Just my warped thinking. :-)
    7 answers · Astronomy & Space · 1 decade ago
  • Have your cake and eat it too? But what use is having a cake if you DON'T eat it?

    I mean, that's what cakes are for, aren't they?
    I mean, that's what cakes are for, aren't they?
    12 answers · Philosophy · 1 decade ago
  • In Warcraft, how do you get behind the auctioneers counter in Orgrimmar?

    I sometimes see characters who have somehow managed to get into the area behind the auctioneers in the AH in Orgrimmar. Anyone know & care to share how that's done?
    I sometimes see characters who have somehow managed to get into the area behind the auctioneers in the AH in Orgrimmar. Anyone know & care to share how that's done?
    2 answers · Video & Online Games · 1 decade ago
  • Would you press a button to make everyone else believe the same as you?

    Imagine that you could press a button to instantly convert everyone else in the world to your political and/or religious views. Would you press the button? And would it matter if it was political, religious, or both beliefs? How sure are you that your beliefs are the correct or best ones? If you're confident and comfortable in your... show more
    Imagine that you could press a button to instantly convert everyone else in the world to your political and/or religious views. Would you press the button? And would it matter if it was political, religious, or both beliefs? How sure are you that your beliefs are the correct or best ones? If you're confident and comfortable in your beliefs, what reason(s) would you have for NOT pressing the button? After all, if everyone believed the same as you, there would be no more strife in the world caused by conflicts between different beliefs, right?
    19 answers · Philosophy · 1 decade ago
  • To those who would NOT want to be immortal, how long would you want to live?

    Say a capricious genie made you immortal against your will in every way but one: you could still commit suicide. How long would you choose to live before ending your life? (Assume you will be in good health all the time you're immortal, and not growing older.)
    Say a capricious genie made you immortal against your will in every way but one: you could still commit suicide. How long would you choose to live before ending your life? (Assume you will be in good health all the time you're immortal, and not growing older.)
    14 answers · Philosophy · 1 decade ago
  • Given an annual salary of $X and non-housing living expenses of $Y, how expensive of a house can I afford?

    And will my credit rating affect just the interest rate on the mortgage I can get, or also the amount of the loan I can get?
    And will my credit rating affect just the interest rate on the mortgage I can get, or also the amount of the loan I can get?
    5 answers · Renting & Real Estate · 1 decade ago